The Italian Job – A Tale of 2 ‘New’ Films

Goodness what a year for film 2017 is turning out. A resurgent Kodak kicked things off right at the start with the announcement that Ektachrome will be back by the end of the year. But in March it has been gone a bit Italian with 2 launches of 2 very different films made just 50km from Genoa.

Image Courtesy of Film Ferrania
It’s back – well almost ……..       Image Courtesy of Film Ferrania

For those of you who don’t know,  Ferrania was once the might Italian film maker. The company like many in the industry ran into problems at the start of the century and actual production ceased in 2008.

P30 Alpha –
“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off”

That could have been the end of the story but in 2014 the name came back with the launch of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Film Ferrania includes several former employees of Ferrania on a corner of the old site. Their long term goal is to bring back several old Ferrania emulsion and although it has been beset by delays they have finally started taking pre orders for a B&W film

As the Video suggests P30 is based on their classic movie film panchromatic B&W. It is worth noting this is being sold as a Beta product and at €8.50 (£7.36 in Queen’s Shillings) and a whooping  €14 P&P some of you might flinch but Film Ferrania has very much set itself as community back product and is your chance not just to support a new player but get in on testing a film out. You’ll also need to wait as the pre-orders wont go out til next month. I snagged the max 5 rolls.

Let me know in the comments what you think.

Lomography F2/400 –
“Hang on a minute lads. I’ve got a great idea…..”

Meanwhile in Austria, those cheeky Hipster supplying scamps at Lomography also launched F2/400 35mm colour negative film. Although they don’t mention Ferrania directly, it is clearly old (pre closure stock)  most likely Ferrania Solaris FG+ 400 which if you believe the typically mystic PR  they bough in 2010 and has been ‘aged’ in Oak Barrels.

Threave Gardens, 2015. Superheadz wide and Slim (aka VUWS) with Expired Truprint FG+ 400 (aka Ferrania Solaris FG+ 400)

Leaving the Mythology aside I’m excited by this. I’m a huge fan of the Solaris FG+ 200 (often seen in Truprint FG+ 200 or Super HD 200 Guise) a film in expired state that can be best summed up as providing cross process like vividness with a vintage hue.

Where a Marra gets his Veg
Workington, Cumbria, March 2014. Taken on a Lomo LC-A with expired Truprint 200asa film.

FG+ 400 is something I have more limited exposure to as the odd Truprint FG+400 rolls I shot were pretty expired but there are hints of what the FG+ 200 does. and Lomography are keen to describe this film the same way and their sample shots are stunning.

Coffee tones
Dumfries. April 2014. Taken on LC-A with Expired Truprint FG+ 200ASA film.

The fantastic Dan James has had more luck than me with as my result have been variable and higher speed films degrade worse when expired.

So I quickly signed up for 10 rolls.  Bying that number means you get it for £5.03/36 exp roll. I bought some more gear to get free postage but their £5GBP P&P for orders under £75 ain’t bad and unlike the wait for P30, it arrived within days.

This has Polarised folk as Lomography products often do. Granted it will be an expired film and ignoring the oak cask ageing milarky remain Ferrania Solaris FG+ 400. But it is relatively fresh FG+ 400 and a chance to buy a film that you’ll not see again* for actually not that much more than existing stock (just looking at small bulk buying (10 rolls or less) Kodak Ultramax wasn’t much cheaper and whilst you could save a quid or so with Lomography’s 400CN or Fuji Superia X-tra 400 there really isn’t much in it)

Be quick though – it is selling out.

Let me know what you think. I’ll review on both in due course

Ciao Italia !

* unless Lomography are keeping a wee supply back


12 thoughts on “The Italian Job – A Tale of 2 ‘New’ Films”

  1. More film is better, but more film is not driving prices down as every time I look there are more rolls over $10 usd per roll. I will be the only one to criticize Ferrania and say I don’t know how they could announce they will be making film again and then go 3 years without a product – any other business I’m not sure how you could stay in business doing that. But as I said above – more film is better.

    1. I believe you have missed the point here. Ferrania was a Kickstarter project, and it hasn’t calamitously failed, like some, with a loss of investment for the backers.

      Yes, there have been delays, but if you have been following the project from Day 1 you should appreciate that this was an imaginative proposal from the start. Backers’ patience is being rewarded now with the availability of this P30 stock, and of the colour stock quite soon. I don’t know if you are a project Backer, but as the P30 film is being made available for all, so non-backers are riding on the back, so to speak, of the Backers who took the financial gamble, and who had faith in the project.

      I am a Backer, and have placed my order for 5 cassettes of P30 film, and I am very much looking forward to receiving my Film Awards shortly.

      1. I have followed the progress on FPP and have seen the updates through the years. Maybe it’s the whole Kickstarter program that I don’t get. I am used to things being more tangible and if something is for sale then it’s for sale. As an end consumer I don’t really care how the product got there – I still am paying money for it.

    2. You’re not alone in that criticism Al but I’m in it for the long haul here. This is a titchy company that might just break the Kodak/Fujifilm monopoly for colour film. Progress has been slow and yup I think they underestimated the challenges but as Terry says they are getting there

      1. Alan,

        Taking up your comment about the Kodak/Fuji monopoly, this is only exacerbated by both companies reducing the types of emulsion they offer. Were they still offering the full range they once did, instead of forcing photographers towards just a few, then their monopoly position wouldn’t be so bad. So, yes, welcome Ferrania film to the fray, I say!

      2. I am anxious to try the new Kodak film, I use Ektar 100 right now and it’s possibly the best film for the money. Color film is not as competitive as b/w , but I wouldn’t say Kodak and Fuji monopolize it – even Lomography’s color is as good as basic Fuji or Kodak.

  2. Hi, Alan.

    I didn’t find your post dismissive, this is too hard a word, but in the absence of information that is now in your reply, I had assumed you weren’t au fait with the whole background to Ferrania’s project.

    Decades ago, I used to use Ferraniacolor and develop it at home, before I decided it was less fun, but also less of a bother, by switching to other films such as Kodak, Afga and Gevaert among others. The switch also improved my hit rate!

    From my age, shall we just say, over 65, it may not come as a surprise to you to learn that I am a traditionalist and that Lomography, not the social aspect and which I can understand will be great fun, but the attention to colour renditions from either outdated film, sold at outrageous prices by all and sundry, or new stock with inbuilt colour shifts as standard, on the basis it is somehow “arty”. Their cameras are ridiculously overpriced for what they are. Rant over.

    I appreciate that the P30 is a beta release, but this will be of historical importance as the first commercially available film from what will become, hopefully, Ferrania Film as a viable and going concern into the future. And as they have concentrated on getting a positive film to market up till now, it does make a lot of sense for them to offer B/W film as well. I believe it bodes well for the alpha version. And, hopefully, they will stick with a high silver content, for which P30 was lauded.

    The p&p rate may seem a lot, but I am used to buying on ebay. de and the rate isn’t that far off.

    1. Alan did have an article about Lomography the company I believe. It does sort of relate to this a bit in that they do bring new photographers and products to the market, but they are overpriced. As far as the cameras go – most don’t resell nearly as high so you can get them cheaper.
      Adox Silvermax is a really good film with silver if you haven’t tried it.

  3. Thanks for the mention Al! Of the few rolls of Truprint 400 I’ve tried, it’s probably been about 40/60 hit to miss. It’s lovely when it’s good but pretty horrible, grainy and washed out when it’s not!

    It just comes down to how far expired the film is, and with the Truprint film always in little foil packets and no box with no expiry date, it’s always a gamble.

    The ISO200 version however I’ve found very reliable. I can’t remember having a bad roll yet, and my Truprint 200 album on Flickr has seven times the photographs the Truprint 400 one has!

    Will be very interesting to see your results with the 400. I’m assuming if Lomography just have one big batch, and they’ve already got good results, then all other rolls from that batch should be equally good, potentially.

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